Winter Retreat

Brief History

We are passionate about bringing Southern poets together and bringing other poets to the South. However, we want to do more than just bring poets to southern black spaces: we want to tie the history of the place and the body into the workshop. The retreat occurs every year from December 26 to December 30 in modern Santee State Park cabins on Lake Marion in beautiful rural South Carolina. Scholarships are available. Accepted applicants may attend up to 3 retreats over the course of 5 years. Upon attending the 1st retreat, applicants become TWH Fellows. Upon completing the 3rd retreat, Fellows become Graduate Fellows.

2016 Winter Retreat — Evie Shockley, L. Lamar Wilson, Bettina Judd, Sharan Strange, and others

2015 Winter Retreat — Jericho Brown, Tara Betts, Randall Horton, and Ebony Noelle Golden.

2014 Winter Retreat — Frank X. Walker, Roger Bonair-Agard, Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie, Nikky Finney, and Darion McCloud.

2013 Winter Retreat — Tyehimba Jess, Lita Hoooper, and Remica L. Bingham Risher

The Annual Watering Hole Poetry Residency, held at Santee State Park in S.C., is dedicated to poets of color. This residency is open to everyone, but preference is given to members of The Watering Hole Facebook group.


Application Fee: $25
Extended Application Period: April 1 to September 19 (online only)
Application Process: Cover Letter + Description of Project (include your aesthetics statement and what you plan to accomplish, range of 800 to 1,000 words) + Creative Sample (poetry packet from 15 to 20 pages)

New fellows must be 21 years of age by December 25, 2016.

The residency features peaceful solitude, no classes, no workshops, no reading assignments, and no responsibilities. Residency attendees will have access to optional daily craft talks, optional readings, and a genuine community, but attendance is not mandatory. The craft talks will be given by Evie Shockley, Lamar Wilson, and Bettina Judd. There will be approximately 65 poets of color on the grounds during this time. Some will be a part of the residency, some a part of the retreat.


The first 5 people who pay receive 30 minute one-on-one conferences with a facilitator. The price reserves your space at the residency, covers housing for 5 days and 4 nights, and covers administrative fees. Choose one of the options below, according to whether you want to share a 2-bedroom cabin with one other residency participant or whether you want a private cabin to yourself.

  • Early Bird TWH Fellow Options
    • $350 for a shared 2-bedroom cabin (paid by 11:59 p.m. October 15) or
    • $700 for a private cabin (paid by 11:59 p.m. October 15)
  • Early Bird Newbie Options
    • $400 for a shared 2-bedroom cabin (paid by 11:59 p.m. October 15) or
    • $700 for a private cabin (paid by 11:59 p.m. October 15)
  • Regular Price Options
    • $500 for a shared 2-bedroom cabin (paid from 12:00 a.m. October 16 to 11:59 p.m. December 1) or
    • $850 for a private (paid from 12:00 a.m. October 16 to 11:59 p.m. December 1)

No payments will be accepted after midnight on December 1st.

We will be housed in modern cabins that have 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a full living, and full kitchen. All participants are responsible for their own travel and food. All participants are required to stay for the entire residency from beginning to end. No exceptions.